The Manitoba Government's 2018-19 operating budget is boasting one of the largest tax cuts in Manitoba history.
The budget also showcases tax cuts for individuals and business, with record spending on health, education, and families. All the while reducing the summary deficit by $114 million.
"We promised to fix the finances, repair the services and rebuild the economy," said Finance Minister Cameron Friesen. "We are keeping our promises."
Friesen said this budget will see the largest reduction regarding a deficit since summary budgeting was introduced in 2007.
"Budget 2018 is projecting a summary deficit of $521 million for this 2018-19 year. That is a $319 million difference," said the MLA for Morden-Winkler.
The Province has made a move regarding income tax, which will remove 30,000 Manitoban's off the tax rolls. The Government is doing this by increasing the income tax threshold by just over $2,000 over a two year period.
Another break in taxes in the presented budget was to small and medium-sized businesses. This was done by raising the small business income tax threshold to $500,000 from $450,000. The Government said this will help businesses save around $6,000 per year, which can, in turn, be reinvested into jobs or technology.
"This is helping people who need it most. It is helping seniors on fixed incomes, helping single parents, and helping students," said Friesen. "It's giving Manitobans a break."
This will also allow for the Province to pump $7 million back into the Manitoba economy each year starting in 2019.
"Manitobans face challenges of rising hydro rates, increased federal and municipal taxes, and interest rates rising. They deserve a break," the minister said. "With this budget, and the biggest tax cut in Manitoba’s history, we are giving them a break by taking money from the cabinet table and putting it back on the kitchen table."
MLA for Midland and Minister of Growth, Enterprise, and Trade, Blaine Pedersen called the budget a "good news budget" for Manitobans. He said raising the basicpersonal exemption is one of the positives. "That's a key thing, keep money on the table for all Manitobans, especially our low-income group, university students, single parents, it just makes such a difference for them."
Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon says the budget provides tax breaks for all Manitobans, not just low-income families. "When you have a $1,000 tax benefit and another one for next year, that's $2,000. If's there's just one person in the family it's $2,000, but if there's two, three, or four, boy that's a lot of money on the kitchen table that's not on a cabinet table."
Meanwhile, Graydon says he pleased to see the province investing more in drainage and flood protection, which is something his constituents will benefit from. Having seen the devastation flooding has caused, Graydon said he'd like to see even more, however, this is a step forward. "I'm happy to see this happen, but if we can get this debt under control, we can see a lot more."
Morris MLA Shannon martin says the budget offers a lot for Manitobans and for rural constituencies like his."As a community that exists in rural Manitoba, we've seen incredible private sector growth in agribusiness. I think the announcements that we've made today whether it's taxation, whether it's regulatory, I think all of those continue to show the bright future that agribusiness has in our province as one of the pillars of future economic growth."
Meantime, Chris Goertzen, President for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, was a little disappointed there were no new dollars for municipalities.
"We do see 2016 dollars being allocated to municipalities for their operating which poses a challenge because we have 2018 problems. But at the same time we do see a slight increase in infrastructure dollars outside of Winnipeg and we welcome that."
The Manitoba Government also introduced its promised carbon tax which will be added to gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas and propane. It will mean an additional5.3 cents on every litre of gas and 6.71 cents for every litre of diesel, starting on September 1, 2018.
Goertzen said municipalities should have a voice on how those dollars are spent.
"We know that flood mitigation and other climate change challenges that all municipalities and all communities are going to face can be dealt with at the municipal level very effectively. So we're going to continue having those discussions with the Province on how those dollars will be allocated and we want to see some strategic investments when it comes to municipalities, climate change and the carbon tax."